Category Archives: Library Technology

Interview with Dr. Troy Swanson – Community College Blogging Research

Via Gordon’s Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Blog comes this interview with Dr. Troy Swanson:

http://ictcenter.blogspot.com/2011/02/community-college-blogging-podcast.html

I’ve know Troy for sometime and was very pleased to watch his research unfold. Here are some details from the post:

On Thursday I had the pleasure of talking with Dr Troy Swanson, an Associate Professor / Teaching and Learning Librarian at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, IL. In December Troy completed his PhD in Community College Leadership at Old Dominion University. His dissertation is titled The Administration of Community College Blogs: Considering Control and Adaptability in Loosely Coupled Systems. In the podcast, Troy discusses some of his findings.

Here’s some dissertation background from Troy:

Web 2.0 technologies present an unlimited potential for outreach to the public by college employees. This presents a conundrum for community college administrators that David Weinberger calls “the conundrum of control.” This conundrum is that organizations need to find a way to organize people around technology to ensure that it is used to further the organization’s mission. Yet, in terms of 2.0 technologies, the more controls that are put in place, the less useful the tools become.

There is also a second conundrum around technology that challenges mangers. This is that the more controls that are in place around a technology, the easier it is to communicate and transfer that technology across the organization. But, the more difficult it is for organization members to adapt the technology to meet new needs.

As one of oldest form of 2.0 technology, the management of blogs presents lessons that we can use for other, newer, 2.0 technologies.

I interviewed administrators and blog authors at community colleges across the US to see how colleges were managing their blogs. The focus was on administrative blogs as opposed to course-related or faculty blogs that discussed their research.  The larger purpose of the study was to see how easily the technology could adapt to new needs and whether campuses were restricting the use of blogs. What kinds of guidance were campus leaders giving to bloggers who were representing the college?

Listen to the podcast here: http://gsnyder.libsyn.com/community-college-blogging-a-conversation-with-dr-troy-swanson-30-40-

Listen for a discussion of trust, policies for blogging and social software and more!  Listen for “I can’t get what I want from IT, so I’m doing it on my own!” :-)

Nordic, Geeky & Cool

Åke Nygren reports from Helsinki Midwinter Darkness Camp:

http://www.InfoToday.eu/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Nordic-geeky-and-cool-73614.aspx

At the Helsinki Midnight Darkness Camp we had the opportunity to pitch project ideas that had either already started to take form as a formal project, or were still waiting to be matched with the right combination of people.  One project idea that took an important step forward towards realisation was a very interesting peer2peer loaning concept for mobile devices:using the mobile phone as a library card and making it possible for patrons to borrow and lend books directly between themselves. Near Field Communication, anyone?

Other project ideas buzzing around at #hmdc11 involved a location based library app, a bookspotting app, a matchmaking tool for nordic ‘couchsurfing‘ and a model formicropayments of small projects. Some new working groups were also formed, e.g. Nordic Video Lab and Nordic Gamebrarians.

One important outcome of #hmdc11 was that we now realize how much we have in common. We share the same longings for less formal structures, more openness and experiments, playful collaboration and more Nordic co-operation. We reached a point when we thought it was time to consider a branding for our growing Nordic networking efforts. It wasn’t difficult to agree upon Nordic Labs as an overall name. Let me cite our recently launched ‘pre-alpha’ website, www.nordiclabs.org:

We are library professionals and non-professionals who are passionate about library innovation.  We share a specific vision on making this world a better place by means of an open, collaborative and sustainable technological development within, and related to, the Nordic library systems.

I may not be speaking for everyone but I’m quite sure that a majority of the campers that attended #hmdc11 share the same views concerning what is currently needed in the Nordic library world:

We need more time for experiments and more focus on actually reaching concrete results. We also need more communication and collaboration on a peer-to-peer level, that is to say a networking model based on a person-to-person perspective rather than the presumption that networking always needs to be structured in a organisation-to-organisation way. The official organisational communication is of course always needed – Nordic Labs has such a formal dimension too – but what is felt by many as lacking, on an individual level, is a feeling of taking an active part in innovation, of a creative flow of ideas generated by informal and inspiring cross boundary conversations between individuals.

Check out Nordic Labs here.

Exploring Transliteracy: A TTW Guest Post by Jessica Thomson

Transliteracy: 21st century literacy

 

It is clear that technology is creating a large change in the ways we communicate and get information within our culture.  This great change affects not only individuals, but also the institutions that make information available, such as libraries and universities.  For a very long time, the essential modes of human communication remained unchanged. Having the ability to read, write, and speak more or less ensured that one possessed the necessary tools to communicate effectively within our culture.  With the explosion of new technologies that affect the way in which we accomplish so many of our daily tasks, a communication divide is occurring between those who communicate across many platforms seamlessly and those who do not.  While the behavior of transliteracy has been around for a long time, the study of it as a concept is new.  Many reports and articles have been written about the need for transliterate behaviors to become the norm in order to keep lines of communication open and keep the exchange of information flowing.  Researchers are also trying to understand how learning and comprehension are affected by this shift to a highly digital lifestyle.  Librarians need to be invested in the spreading of transliteracy because it affects their ability to assist patrons and provide information.  A new divide is emerging in the 21st century. It is no longer the divide between those who can read and those who cannot; it is now a divide between those who can access and understand digital information and those who cannot.  The library has a role in bridging this new literacy divide.

What is transliteracy?

Transliteracy is defined  by Sue Thomas, a professor of new media at De Monfort University, as “the capacity to read, write, and interact across a range of platforms, tools, and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio, and film, to digital social networks.” As a behavior, transliteracy is not a new phenomenon.  However, the identification of transliteracy as a concept to be studied is a recent development, largely due to the new ways in which the Internet and other technologies allow for communication in ways that were not previously imagined.  It is a broad term that encompasses and transcends many existing concepts.  Some of these existing concepts include media literacy and digital literacy, which are contained within the definition of transliteracy.

The term transliteracy comes from the verb “transliterate,” which is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “replacing (letters or characters of one language) by those of another used to represent the same sounds; to write (a word, etc.) in the characters of another alphabet.”  This is an apt definition for the ways in which new technologies are replacing the traditional ways and means of communicating and learning.

It is no longer enough to only be able to read and write in order to communicate effectively.  Individuals need to be able to access and understand digital information across many different and continually-evolving platforms in addition to the traditional formats we are all accustomed to.  Transliteracy is concerned with the social meaning of literacy and the participatory nature of new means of communicating.  Additionally, transliteracy is unique in combining and democratizing communication formats, expressing no partiality for one over another, while stressing the social construction of meaning via diverse media. However, it should be noted that no group has yet to publish a definition of what specific skills are necessary to be transliterate.

Transliteracy and the library

Transliteracy is a relatively new term, and while many library professionals may not be aware of the term per se, it does not mean that librarians are not participating in transliterate practices during daily interaction with patrons.  While the concept of transliteracy is evolving and the definition may therefore shift over time, transliteracy is about understanding the ways and means of communication interaction and the skills needed to navigate from one medium to another.  It is about the convergence of media types and the experience of engaging with the world in a multi-modal manner.

The lack of a list of skills needed to be transliterate leaves librarians without an understanding of the relationship that libraries will have with transliteracy.  Libraries have information literacy standards, but it is uncertain whether these will be enough to support the growth of research regarding the means in which people communicate and produce content across various media.

The library can add value to existing resources by allowing patrons to contribute to knowledge bases.  Social construction of knowledge can take place in many different ways, from allowing tagging of additional terms in the library catalog to consultation of under-identified objects in special collections.  The transliterate world changes the assumption that authority is unidirectional and comes only from established channels.

Librarians should keep abreast of future developments concerning transliteracy because it concerns many of the concepts at the heart of librarianship.  Librarians can incorporate new ideas about transliteracy into the ways that they help patrons access, understand, and create information.  Additionally, these social networks and other forms of multi-media can create a means of knowledge sharing to enhance the user experience.

Solutions:

 

For libraries to be able to assist users with transliterate needs, the library and librarians need to be active in a transliterate manner.  A new digital divide is emerging in the 21st century between those who can access and understand digital information and those who cannot.  The library has a role to play in bridging this divide.  Computers need to be accessible, and access, especially to social media sites, cannot be blocked.  Libraries cannot look upon social media sites as bad; they are a means of communication and information exchange.  Libraries should offer the ability to access and create across a broad range of platforms and networks.

This means that librarians must keep abreast of ever changing technologies and the newest and latest ways to interact digitally.  Librarians will need to create personal learning environments that allow for the exploration of new and unknown platforms and tools.  Librarians will have to be flexible enough to learn new tools, experiment with social media sites, and try out new technologies.  This is a tall order.  But it is not insurmountable.

For example, librarians could meet formally or informally to share information about personal gadgets, such as e-readers, so that they will understand when users approach with issues in downloading e-books from the library collection.  The learning group could create accounts on social media sites to test out the many tools within the site.  Testing out social media sites in this way could assist librarians in explaining privacy settings, or additional features for the site.  Understanding the applications available on the computers in the library could help librarians assist users with creating content.  This is a natural extension of learning the library’s print collection or offering of online databases.

As the concept and understanding of transliteracy and its impact on humans is being researched and developed, it is important for librarians to remain aware of new research and reports.  This will ensure that libraries are equipped to assist patrons with this new form of literacy for the 21st century, transliteracy.

Citations:

Ipri, Tom. 2010.  Introducing transliteracy. College & Research Libraries News 71(10), 532-567.

Newman, Bobbi L.  2010. Libraries and Transliteracy Slideshow. [Slideshare slides]. Retrieved from Libraries and Transliteracy Web Site:   http://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/libraries-and-transliteracy-slideshow/

Thomas, Sue, Chris Joseph, Jess Laccetti, Bruce Mason, Simon Mills, Simon Perril, and Kate Pullinger. 2007.   Transliteracy: Crossing divides.  First Monday. 12(12).

Jessica Thomson is a graduate student at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, graduating in May 2011.  She is also the Metadata Assistant with the Digital Collections Department at Northwestern University Library.

On the Zukunftwerkstatt Kultur und Wissensvermittlung – Future Workshop in Germany

From Michael: Christoph Deeg of the Zukunftwerkstatt in Germany agreed to do a guest post for me outlining the origins and philosophies of this group. I spent an incredible day with the group in Berlin – and learned so much from them.  I was honored to be asked to participate as a founding member last March and am pleased Christoph agreed to write for TTW – in English!


The Zukunftwerkstatt Kultur- und Wissensvermittlung e.V. is a non-profit-organisation that brings people together who are active in public institutions or private enterprises dealing with future possibilities of mediating of cultural and scientific topics. It is the aim of our organisation to develop and realize concepts that will make knowledge society come true.  We are open to people and their ideas and consider ourselves mediators between institutions, enterprises, people and products, while not pursuing any financial interests. We are guided by the desire to find and support people of vision who believe – as we do – that cooperation at all levels will unfold new and exciting possibilities for all participants and hence for all customers or users.

Dividing lines between learning and playing, between education and entertainment are breaking down. New virtual worlds and leisure time options are evolving. Interaction, multi-optional, individual and global communication systems are gaining ground. Negotiation and utilization of knowledge in the fields of science and culture will become essential. If we acknowledge the overall scheme of things, a new means in communication will emerge with new networks and unique possibilities of cooperation: Users will gain global access to cultural and scientific subject matter. Enterprises and institutions, if cooperating closely, will gain access to millions of interested, creative and openminded users and customers. Never before have so many opportunities been better for such complex cooperation at all levels between public institutions such as libraries, museums or private enterprise as for example the games industry. And never before were we closer to realizing a knowledge and culture society, without the partners in cooperation having to give up any of their own goals.

We believe that libraries will play an important role in conveying knowledge and culture in the future. But they won`t be able to define themselves as simply providing access to knowledge, because nowadays they compete with a whole range of alternative suppliers. Libraries depend for their legitimization on the advantages, which the society that finances them draws from their services: preserving cultural heritage, promoting literacy and serving as mediators and managers of media and information.

We also believe that computer games and Web 2.0 will have a huge influence on the way cultural and scientific content will be imparted in the future. Therefore it is important to understand the culture behind these new media which is based on cooperation, transparency, interaction, trust, sharing, and having fun.

The best way to describe the modern internet is to show a picture of an soccer-stadium like the one here. The stadium itself is useless. What makes it alive are the people, the teams, the fans. All the different platforms that you can find in the internet like Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Youtube are useless without the people that upload and share content. It is all about people not about software and it is not possible to understand anything of these new platforms only by a theoretical discussion. To understand the people the way they work and communicate, they way they care and having fun we have to become users and gamers.

While at the moment most of the libraries are trying to follow and understand trends and technologies they have to become their designers not in a technical but in a content and service orientated way.

We do not think that there is any kind of “rat race” between the traditional and the future library or between the books and the computers. There is neither a competition between gaming and seriousness. But we found out that if you start this exciting journey you will have to work hard, learn a lot and you will have fun.

Our story began in 2008 in Mannheim where we (Julia Bergmann, Jin Tan and Christoph Deeg) met at the celebration dinner in the occasion of the Bibliothekartag which is the biggest library conference in Germany and probably in Europe. We all have different backgrounds. Julia is a librarian and works as a trainer for information literacy. Jin is also a librarian. After working in a huge library in Berlin he is now on his way back to china where he amongst other things will develop new intercultural projects for the Zukunftswerkstatt. Christoph is not a librarian. After studying Jazz drums he worked  in the range of marketing and sales for the music – and the games industry. All together we come from different worlds and cultures and we still believe that this interdisciplinary background is very helpful for our work. But lets go back to that evening 2008 in Mannheim. After we had dinner we we started talking about libraries, gaming, the web 2.0, the future a.s.o. And while we where exchanging our experiences the idea was born to do something at the Bibliothekartag 2009 in Erfurt. And so the story went on.

The first idea was to create a little space for the visitors of the Bibliothekartag 2009 conference in Erfurt to try out the Web 2.0 and the world of computer games. We wanted the librarians to try out these new technologies and to discuss their experiences and ideas. From our point of view most of the librarians in germany did and still do not have much experience with gaming and the web 2.0. This is by the way not only a problem in libraries. You can find the same situation in institutions like museums, operas, universities and even private enterprises. And this is probably comparable to most of the countries worldwide. We started to present our idea to librarians, companies and institutions and we were happy to see that we got a lot of support. Companies like Electronic Arts, libraries like the ETH-library in Zürich, universities like the University of Applied Science in Potsdam and last but not least a huge number of librarians helped us. The result was a bit different to the first idea but in positive way.

We had our own exhibition stand where we introduced our visitors to the world of opportunities and possibilities arising from the use of computer games and Web 2.0 applications. Everybody was invited to try out the aspects and possibilities of new media, computer games and diverse web tools and to gain a better idea of the vast potential of these devices for the development of their libraries. Our visitors had also an opportunity to learn from best-practice models so far in use in libraries worldwide, where Web 2.0 applications were enhancing their services to their customers. The librarians could also experience the chances of including computer games, internet communities and social media into their services and of course we shared our enthusiasm with all the visitors at our exhibition stand. We had speeches and a very successful panel discussion with librarians, game-developers and futurologists about the future of libraries. To get an little insight about Erfurt 2009 we created a little trailer. Enjoy yourself :-)

After one year successful voluntary working together we found ourselves again at the celebration-dinner of a Bibliothekartag. And while we where celebrating our success we where asked to go on with our work. Today we have an legal form that goes with our activities. We started a research programme and we are teaching librarians how to use the Web 2.0 and computer games as part of their daily work. At www.zukunftswerkstatt.mixxt.org you can find our interdisciplinary online-community which is open for everyone who wants to think about the question how we will impart cultural and scientific content in the future. We are also talking to companies and politicians to make them understand how important it is to support the libraries on their way in the future. Beside this we started to found an own research-institute. Furthermore we are realizing a roadshow which is a mobile-future-library. But the most important thing is we are activating people to try out these new technologies.

In 2010 the library-conference was located in Leipzig. Prof. Dr. Hans-Christoph Hobohm from the University of Applied Science in Potsdam who had been with us from the first activities in Erfurt 2009 told us that there was the possibillity for the Zukunftswerkstatt to present Michael as speaker at the library-conference in Leipzig. It was the Embassy of the United States that made this possible. Prof. Dr. Hobohm also  had an great idea. As mentioned before we found a legal form for the Zukunftswerkstatt that goes with our activities and structure. Our legal form is an registered non-profit association. We wanted to found it officially during the libraryconference in Leipzig. In Germany you need 7 people to found such an association. Generally who can ask everyone to become a founder. But we wanted to have founders that identify to our project and our activities and that will support us. Prof. Dr. Hobohm asked Michael to become the 7th founder. Michael accept our invitation and so he became and he still is a founder of the Zukunftswerkstatt Kultur- und Wissensvermittlung e.V.

From left to right: Jin Tan (Zukunftswerkstatt), Christoph Deeg (Zukunftswerkstatt), Dr. Rudolf Mumenthaler (ETH Zürich) , Julia Bergmann (Zukunftswerkstatt), Michael Stephens, Prof. Dr. Hans-Christoph Hobohm (University of applied science Potsdam) und Hans-Jürgen Schmid (librarian emeritus)

We are very happy that we were able to gain Michael Stephens as a founder of our association. During the day that we spent with him in Berlin we were able to learn a lot. Sharing and discussing ideas and visions is important. It was fascinating to find out the similarities and the differences between our two cultures. But we also found out that we had much more similarities than expected. We believe that the future of libraries is not based on countries or areas. Everyone can learn from each other. Our little association has founders in the USA, China, Germany and Switzerland.

We would like to invite you to become part of our interdisciplinary and international community. Talk to us! Talk about us! Lets have fun…

Christoph Deeg

http://www.zukunftswerkstatt.org/

Webinars and such

Man, webinars, streamed meetings, recorded speeches, etc. are everywhere. Earlier today I stumbled across a twitter hashtag #gwws discussing a seemingly interesting (haven’t had a chance to watch it yet)  presentation on screencasts and staff development. This is directly in my professional interest wheelhouse. I am lucky I noticed the hashtag. What if I hadn’t?

I, on the same hand, recently facilitated the Chicagoland Library Drupal Group.  We had some great content, discussing the soon to come and conquer Drupal 7 and how to allow patrons to make customized database lists using the Flag Module. We streamed and recorded the event (here).  I advertised on the drupal4lib listserv, web4lib, ALA Connect and Twitter.  I am positive I have missed a large portion of the audience that have or will have an interest in learning about these topics. 

I think it is important to put my recorded content in a place where it can easily be found. I also want a place I can easily find content that interests me.  Does this exist?  I don’t think so, at least I have not been able to find it.

So, might as well create it, right?  I have made a page on the Library Success Wiki as a home for these webinars, streamed meetings, recorded speeches and the like, titled Webinars and such.  I imagine I don’t have to describe why a wiki is a good idea for this.

Please add links to the wiki and spread the word.


TTW Contributor: Mick Jacobsen

“It always has content I care about.” Flipboard for iPad Personal Magazine

I downloaded the app but trying to add my accounts yields a “server busy” message. Must be a lot of folks trying to get set up. I’m intrigued by this though and look forward to plating with it. Can you imagine where this might lead? Not only can individuals have a social magazine constantly updating at their fingertips, but groups could someday have tailor made versions of Flipboard for their own content – think a class of students or a certain community. Then, add in channels of content supplied by libraries – local info, user-generated digital collections and news. Wow. I’ll wait a bit and keep trying.

Aaron Schmidt “Library 10 & Meeting Point”

Glimpses of the future of libraries in Finland:

http://www.walkingpaper.org/2790

My colleague Aaron Schmidt reports from his time spent in helsinki working with the Gates Foundation at the 2010 Global Libraries Peer Learning Meeting. Take a look at this:

“The libraries I saw have overcome their addiction to circulating content. Now they’re all about doing, making, publishing, working, and experiences revolving around content. People are still getting print books and CDs for the library, sure, but other stuff seems more important. Here’s a little report…”

Later:

“It is impossible for library patrons and staff to sit on opposite side of a desk. They work together answering questions. Staff were resistent at first but quickly came to fully embrace the arrangement and wondered why they didn’t make the switch 10 years earlier.

Speaking of work, chief librarian Kari Lämsä says he prefers the concept of Library as Working Room rather than the more commonLibrary as Living Room because living rooms are too passive.”

Please read the whole post and checkout the numerous photos. A big shout out to Aaron for the international work he’s doing and for sharing with us all! I’ll be incorporating his post into future classes.

foursquare @ Darien Library

foursquareCheck-ins, badges, and becoming mayor have nothing to do with libraries and everything to do with the geolocation game foursquare…. well it did until some of the librarians here at Darien began hijacking our own venue (Darien Library).  We began checking in every time we came into work, closely monitoring who among us was crowned Mayor of Darien Library.  Possibly making snide comments to our new ruler – of course in good fun.

Then it dawned on us: Why are we checking in all the time when we could offer up this service to our users?

We began looking a little closer at it, finding out how we could build a whimsical program out of it that, yes, would be a little silly, but also potentially informative and rewarding.  foursquare allows users to add to-do’s to venues for individual use and tips for others who check-in.  What tips could we offer?

To our benefit, our cadre of staff foursquare users represents pretty much every department in the library: User Experience (UX), Teens, Technology, Knowledge and Learning Services (KLS), and Children’s.  Together we thought of 3 to 5 tips we could each offer up from our department.  For example, Teens has video games, UX puts together some great programming, KLS has a fabulous Bloomberg Terminal, and so on.  So when we thought of ideas and potential hurdles we all funneled them into our Google Wave and then filtered the good ideas off to the venue as tips.

We were left wondering about incentives.  foursquare is like twitter was in the beginning, popular for early adopters but seemingly useless for the rest of the population.  We wanted to invite our users to try a new technology, to not worry about the “silliness” of it at the beginning.  To do this we needed our incentive.  Because we can track who becomes Mayor of Darien Library we thought it best to give out a prize:  a fancy tote bag (a $25 value!).  Become Mayor, get a tote bag.  It’s that simple.

We’re going to evaluate this program over a two month period and see how it increases check-ins to our venue.  If we see it’s popular we’re going to think of other incentives we can offer.  If it bombs, hey, that’s ok.  It’s quick to implement and low maintenance – and we tried something new.

This idea was thought up by these fine folks:

  • Alex Hylton, Teen and Technology Services
  • Sarah Ludwig, Teen and Technology Services and Knowledge and Learning Services
  • Gretchen Caserotti, Children’s Services
  • Erica Leone, Reader’s Advisory
  • and myself, Kyle Jones, Knowledge and Learning Services
——-
Kyle Jones, TTW Contributor
@thecorkboard
thecorkboard.org